Professional certification is the voluntary process by which a non-governmental entity grants a time-limited recognition and use of a credential to an individual after verifying that he or she has met predetermined and standardized criteria.* The ICRM’s Certified Records Manager is a professional certification.
A certificate program is a training program on a specialized topic for which participants receive a certificate after completing the course and passing an assessment instrument.
The chart below compares the distinction between certificate and certification.
|Results from an educational process.||Results from an assessment process such as exams.|
|For both newcomers and experienced professionals alike.||Typically requires some amount of professional experience and education.|
|Awarded by educational program providers or institutions.||Awarded by a third party, standard-setting organization.|
|Indicates completion of a course or series of courses with specific focus; is different than a degree granting program.||Indicates mastery/competency as measured against a defensible set of standards, usually by application or exam.|
|Usually listed on a resume detailing education;
may issue a document to hang on the wall.
|Typically results in a designation to use after one’s name (CRM, CA, PMP.); may result in a document to hang or to keep in a wallet.|
|Is the end result; demonstrates knowledge of course content at the end of a set period in time.||Has ongoing requirements in order to maintain; holder must demonstrate he/she continues to meet requirements.|
|May provide the basis and gateway for achieving a degree.||No relationship with attaining higher education or degree.|